“When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were, you can begin to enjoy what is.” – Cheri Huber
One of my predecessors, Mr. J.T. Mulligan, coached baseball at Lloyd Memorial High School for 21 years. In that tenure, he won 376 games. After completing my 8th season at Lloyd, I am still a far cry from where Mr. Mulligan is. I mention this in respect to the job Mr. Mulligan did, and to discuss what I used to use as my coaching success barometer.
John Brubaker (@CoachBru) wrote a great piece today about being the best you instead of trying to be the very best, or, worse, better than someone else. (Coach Bru expresses this sentiment amazingly – check out his post here. )
When you compare your successes to those of others, there are two fallacies at work: the first, that your success can only be defined by what someone else has accomplished, and, second, that you can sum up the totals of your successes simply by looking at wins and losses. We live in an age where we constantly compare people; Lebron vs. Michael, Tiger vs. Nicklaus, Manning vs. Brady are a few examples. I am of the opinion that this serves to diminish accomplishments instead of holding them up to be appreciated. Can’t they simply be amazing athletes without being compared to another?
As a coach, it becomes so easy to look at the W’s and L’s and determine self-worth and value from that. What I have learned (and am constantly trying to remember) is that the job we do as coaches simply can’t be measured by our records. Sure, the guys who get paid the big bucks in this profession have to keep an eye on those stats a bit more than me and my peers. At our level, though, we have to look at things like personal and lasting relationships built, the positive effect we’ve had on young people and the types of people we are helping to mold and send out into the world. Don’t get me wrong. Winning is awesome. This isn’t a cop out. I think back over some amazing victories I’ve shared with some incredible young men and it makes me extremely proud. I’m not saying we should be at peace with mediocrity. I am saying that we have a higher calling than simply building a winning resume. We can start to fully take stock of these types of victories when we stop comparing ourselves to others. We can truly be successful when we see the finished product of the young people we’ve coached and mentored.
As a personal goal, I hope to one day have close to 400 wins like Coach Mulligan, or 500-plus like Coach Maxwell, or even 800-plus like Coach Krumpelbeck. In the meantime, I will strive to meet their level of success by being the best possible me.
Have an awesome Monday,